Highlights from Origins 2019

June 18, 2019

Right, well, Origins is over and I have been bed-ridden the past couple days with some nasty con crud, but it was all worth it. Origins is simply the best time of the year, when I get to hang out with all my board game friends in a much more relaxed environment than Gen Con or Spiel.

So what I'd like to do now is just make a little list of all the cool things that happened so that maybe somehow I can pretend I am still there instead of coughing up a lung at home.

Hanging out with my wife: My wife Kristyn hasn't been to an Origins since the first time I came 5 years ago (which was an unmitigated disaster - not because of her or anything). It was nice having her along so I could share all of my great experiences with her.

Hanging out with Pegheads: Blue Peg, Pink Peg has the greatest fans. So much so that we are running a silly contest at the moment that, well, requires more explanation than I can give. Nearly every night I got to hang out with Blue Peg, Pink Peg and their fans, and even if the games we were playing were totally random or unbalanced (I'm looking at you Silver and Imperial Settlers Roll and Write), I still had a great time.

Setting up the booth: While I tried to minimize my time working at the convention, Cephalofair Games did have a booth for the first time at Origins, and it was great to see Price step up the booth space with floor tiles and nice tables and chairs. We're going to have even more cool stuff at Gen Con, so I'm excited to see all of that too.

Dinner with the booth team: All of our booth staff were great, too, and I had a nice time hanging out with them on Wednesday night for dinner. Price had been putting together Brute and Tinkerer costumes that I got to try on, and we even got in a game of Welcome To...

Tiki party: After the team dinner, we went to my first ever Tiki bar for a party hosted by Daryl Andrews. It was, well, super-crowded, and the drinks weren't very strong, but it was certainly an interesting experience.

Pitching What We Found There: I feel like I have gotten this new design to the point where I am comfortable showing it to publishers. I've never actually pitched a game before, so I wasn't 100% sure what I was doing, but I sat down with Capstone Games and showed them the game. They seemed to like it, so we'll see where it goes from there.

Play testing Dark Tower: Return to Dark Tower continues to move along. Everyone from Restoration Games was at Origins, so we took the opportunity to run some play testing and all of that. The latest iteration is incredibly solid, so I am quite happy with how things are going.

Mashup Meetup: If there was a single highlight from last year's Origins, it was certainly the Mashup Meetup, hosted by Blue Peg, Pink Peg, Man vs. Meeple and the Brawling Brothers. This year was no different, and I had a blast tearing up the dance floor with all my friends and, of course, my wife.

1817: It might have been a little crazy, but after only getting through half a game of 1817 at HeavyCon, I wanted to play a whole game of it, and it just so happened that some Heavy Cardboard listeners were scheduling a game of it at Origins. I'm sure there were plenty of other exciting things I could have been doing all day Friday, but instead I played 1817 for 8 hours and I regret nothing. This was probably one of the greatest game experiences I have ever had.

Brassica: I'm not a big fan of repeating experiences. Even restaurants that I really like, I will at max go about once a month. With that said, I went to a restaurant called Brassica four times last week. Pretty much every day. It is kinda like a Mediterranean Chipotle, with fresh, incredibly flavorful ingredients. It is my new favorite restaurant.

Game All Night whiskey meetup: Whereas other Origins meetups seem to be just about drinking and socializing, Game All Night's meetup is all about drinking, socializing, and playing games, which I can definitely appreciate. I had some pretty epic games of Don't Mess with Cthulu, as well as an epic defeat with the Estates.

Pride Festival: It is so lovely that the Columbus Pride Festival and Origins coincide every year. The joy on display during the parade is so infectious, you can't help but just experience it and be happy.

Gaia Project: I finally got in another game of Gaia Project with Robb from Blue Peg, Pink Peg. The teach probably wasn't my best, and we had one player confused about gaiaforming most of the game, but it was still fun, and, of course, beating Robb is always nice.

Tichu: After that, Robb and I teamed up to take on David from Man vs. Meeple and his wife at Tichu. It was my first time playing a full game of this, and it was a lot of fun. And I picked it up well enough to come out victorious.

All night Saturday gaming: My friend Adrian and his daughter flew out from California for Origins,and it was great seeing them, but I was kinda disappointed in how little I got to hang out with them over the week. If Origins has a problem, it is just that there is too much awesome stuff going on and too many cool people to hang out with. Adrian had an early flight back to California Sunday morning, so we stayed up most of the night playing games, which was nice. I was totally dead the next day, but I regret nothing.

Walking around the hall: Speaking of too many awesome things to do, I didn't find time to walk around the exhibit hall until Sunday, and even then, it was only for an hour or so. It was a whirlwind tour, and I wish I could have seen a lot more.

Sunday lunch: Another highlight from last year was having lunch on the last day with Ella Ampongan and Paul Grogan, so we had to do that again, also adding Danny Quach and my wife Kristyn to the crew.

Letter Jam: And finally, I got the patented Paul Grogan demo experience with Letter Jam. This was a really clever cooperative word game, and I am looking forward to it coming out later this year.

And I think that about wraps it up! It took me way too long to get through this list, given the many bouts of coughing and exhaustion, so if you don't mind, I'm going to go take a nap now.

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